Phillippine Health Secretary Under Fire for Urging Survey of Homes with Gay Children

The Philippines Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender advocacy group called for the resignation of Health Secretary Enrique Ona following remarks he made at an AIDS conference suggesting that health care workers survey homes with gay children and advise parents of potentially risky behavior, the AP reports:

OnaHealth Secretary Enrique Ona said that “parents should rein in their homosexual children and get them tested.” He made the remark in a speech at Friday’s conference while discussing options for voluntary testing for young people who are most at risk of HIV/AIDS…Government spokeswoman Abigail Valte said “we do not support any discrimination” but did not comment on the resignation call.

Said Marlon Lacsamana, the founder of the Philippines LGBT Hate Crime Watch, a human rights watchdog: "We want Ona ousted. Bigots do not deserve high government posts, and more so he should not serve as a chair of PNAC if we do not want his unscientific biases to taint the good work of our unsung AIDS preventions heroes nationwide. We're wasting our hard-earned taxpayers' money on homophobes as he is undoing decades of evidence-based prevention practices that aim to encourage homosexuals and transgenders to voluntarily seek testing, counseling, and treatment. Ona's words will drive LGBTs away from HIV programs and make us so vulnerable to infections."


  1. says

    Yes, he should be removed from any Government position. What’s next? Will I find a Government Social Worker at my door declaring my son is being raised by two unfit parents because they are gay?

  2. BreckRoy says

    I’d need more context before having an opinion. (At work now so can’t stop to read the source, which might answer some of my questions.) What is this guy’s background and history on gay health issues and AIDShIV/AIDS? Is this part of a pattern of bigotry or poorly chosen words?

    For example, in parts of the world and communities where AIDS is at critical levels, and parents often deal with homosexuality by, if not condemning it, refusing to acknowledge openly that it exists in their families, young gay people may not be getting the “Burt Hummel” guidance from their parents as to the real dangers of some sex behavior, safe sex practices, or how to respect themselves enough to choose partners wisely. Calling for an initiative in those cultures to actively go to parents of gay children, educate them about the risks and stakes, and attempt to bring them/shock them/force them into more active engagement in reducing their children’s potential risky sexual behavior, then that is a good conversation to be having.

    So was his offense inartful word choice (reign in) or a history of bigotry and closed mindedness?

  3. Gregv says

    His suggestion makes no sense fir all sorts of reasons.
    First of all, most gay kids have never done anything that would put them at risk. To send a 12-year-old who’s never even kissed anyone but grandma for STD testing (while ignoring his/her straight siblings who might be sexually active) sends the wrong message. It suggests he/she is at risk just because he/she is gay, which is false and counter-productive.
    Many or most parents probably don’t really know their child’s orientation. Kids, especially gay kids, tend not to tell their parents. I dated a Filipino guy whose parents didn’t consider him gay even after he told them, many
    times, that he was. It’s the kids who have ignorant parents who need sex education the most, and those are exactly the parents who either won’t receive the targeted message or will misunderstand it.
    Also, there is nothing gay people do sexually that straight people don’t do. They all need to learn the same messages about how to choose future partners wisely and stay safe. Nobody should assume a gay kid is doing X and a straight kid is doing Y, everybody is doing W and nobody is doing Z. They should be informed on how to stay safe and healthy regardless of the gender of a partner.

  4. Danny says

    He’s obviously an idiot. He’s one of those bigots who believe being gay means carrying and HIV gene or something. And he’s the health secretary.

    Way to go, Philipines. Thanks for being true to the expectations the rest of the world has of you.

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